Complex Divorce Litigation
The divorce lawyers of Deno Millikan have provided experiences and efficient representation to Washington clients for over 40 years. In that time, we have developed a proven track record for successfully navigating the issues that often arise in high asset or complex divorces.
Our attorneys provide experienced counsel in the valuation and distribution of significant marital estates, assets, and debt.
Division of Marital Property and Assets
Washington is a no-fault community property state. The division of marital property is meant to be a straightforward process. In cases of significant investments, stock awards earned through employment, family business concerns, pensions and retirement accounts or deliberately hidden assets. What is meant to be a simple equitable split can become exceedingly complex.
Know the difference between Community & Separate Property
Our attorneys can help to accurately identify and evaluate all property and assets that are subject to division. Whether you need assistance to trace hidden assets or proactive guidance in dealing with the impact of a divorce on a family business, we are ready to put our experience, professionalism and negotiation, mediation and litigation skills to work on your behalf.
Contact our offices in Everett, Washington, today to schedule a detailed and practical assessment of your current legal position and a discussion of the legal challenges you may face in seeking a fair and equitable division of marital property.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup, is a contract between two people who are planning to live together and possibly get married. While the conditions of a prenup can vary depending upon the preferences of the couple, most prenuptial agreements outline what will happen financially in the case of a split. Usually, these financial specifications deal with what will happen with property in the event of a separation or divorce, as well as what types of payment, such as alimony, either party will make.
Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement is also a contract between two people in a committed relationship. Unlike a prenup, though, a postnuptial agreement made between two people who are already married or have entered into a civil union. The purpose of a postnuptial agreement is generally to provide financial protection to both parties in the case of a divorce or separation.
What Can Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Protect?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements might be beneficial for a number of reasons and can provide the following protections for those who enter into them:
- Protection of property in the case that one person owns property prior to marriage that he or she wishes to keep in the event of a divorce.
- Defining “who gets what” in the case a divorce occurs, including property, assets, money, vehicles, etc.
How to Formulate a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement
If you want to pursue a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, there are a few terms and conditions to which you and your (future) spouse must adhere.
A prenuptial agreement may be invalid if signed under duress, coercion or without mental capacity. If one or both spouses did not disclose their assets or if the agreement contains unreasonable conditions, it might be invalid.
A family law attorney can help guide you and your spouse to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. At the Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC, we are happy to provide you with more information about the terms of pre- and postnuptial agreements, what you can protect and help you with any legal questions. Call us today at (425) 259-2222 or contact us online to get started today.
Child Custody & Parenting
Parenting plans provide the rule book for residential time, decision making, transportation and special considerations for each child. Parents and children must abide by their parenting plan. Parents may, and are encouraged to, create a plan on their own when going through a divorce or parentage action. If parents are not able to agree, then the court will determine a parenting plan. All parenting plans must serve the child’s best interest.
Parenting Plans in Washington
The court encourages parents to come to a mutually acceptable agreement regarding residential time for children. Sometimes people refer to this as child custody or visitation, but the court statutes talk only about the children’s residential time with parents. The agreement must include a complete parenting plan. In the plan, the parents will decide the child’s primary residence, as well as where the child will spend weekends, holidays, birthdays, and vacations, and how decisions are made.
The court must approve the plan before it becomes a binding court order. If there’s a dispute, the court will figure out a plan that’s in the child’s best interests. In doing so, the court will consider a number of issues including:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child;
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s basic needs;
- The effect of living with either parent on the child;
- Distance between parents; and
- The child’s wishes if deemed old enough and of adequate maturity.
Decision Making in Washington
Many parenting plans give parents joint decision making regarding major issues. This means both parents make important decisions in the child’s life together. This includes medical, education, and religious decisions.
In some circumstances, residential time and decision making needs to be restricted in order to protect a child. The court may restrict a parent’s time with the child is, for example,
- The parent willfully abandoned the child for some amount of time;
- The parent has demonstrated a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse;
- The parent has been engaged in domestic violence; or
- The parent has alcohol or substance abuse problems.
These issues may also effect whether the court grants primary physical or shared residential time, visitation, or decision-making authority to a particular parent. An attorney can assist you with these concerns, whether the other parent levels these allegations against you or whether you allege the other parent is not able to safely parent.
Deno Millikan Law Firm Can Help with Parenting Matters
If you are going through a divorce or otherwise need to establish residential time in a parenting plan, an attorney can protect your rights and advocate for the best interests of your child. Call Deno Millikan at (425) 259-2222 or contact us online to set up a consultation to review the specifics of your case. We work with parents with various family law concerns in the Everett area.
Adopting a Child in WA State
Adoption, at heart, is creating a family. Through a special process, adoptive parent(s) assume legal parental responsibilities for a child. A new birth certificate is created recognizing the adoptive parents as the child’s biological parents (in most cases). The rights and rules regarding adoption are laid out in the Revised Code of Washington Chapter 26.33. Becoming an adoptive parent is an important decision and choosing to adopt has lifelong impacts on children, their birth and adoptive parents, and extended families. Our attorneys can educate you on the ripple effects of adoption and guide you through the process.
Common Types of Adoption
There are many types of adoptions. At Deno Millikan, we primarily assist clients with:
- Step-parent adoption – By far, the most common type of adoption occurs when a stepparent adopts the child from his or her partner’s previous relationship. The non-custodial parent will have to terminate his or her parental rights to allow the stepparent to adopt the child.
- Second-parent adoption – This is adoption specifically for same-sex parents. In a second-partner adoption, a partner can adopt his or her same-sex partner’s child.
Easy vs. Difficult Step-Parent Adoptions
A step-parent adoption can be a relatively straightforward process if the birth parent willingly signs the necessary paperwork to relinquish his or her rights. This enables the whole process to move along much more smoothly and quickly. An investigation by a guardian ad litem or social worker will still need to happen prior to requesting court approval of the adoption, but again, with the former parent’s consent, it is a far easier process.
If, on the other hand, the birth parent does not willingly relinquish his or her parental rights, the process of adoption can become more complicated if the other parent’s rights must be terminated over his or her objection.
Help in Navigating the Legal Process
If you are considering an adoption, we can help. Whether you are hoping to adopt as a step-parent or through other means, it is important to understand all your rights and responsibilities, how the process is conducted, what you need to do to be prepared and what you can expect each step of the way.
Your attorney will:
- Help you work on an adoption plan that suits your family’s needs;
- Draw up the necessary paperwork and file with the proper agencies;
- Help you understand and prepare for the state-required post-placement study;
- Offer counsel and options should speed bumps occur; and
- Represent you best interests throughout the proceedings.
Get Started with Your Adoption
To begin exploring your options and work on an adoption plan for your family, we invite you to call our family law team at Deno Millikan. We can assist in adoption cases in Everett, greater Snohomish County, and the surrounding areas. Contact our office for an initial appointment so we can help your family get started on the journey today.